fredag, februari 06, 2009

Dag Hammarskjöld and the RSV 4.

The dear librarians had found the book – and it was one book, not two as in the catalogue…

It took only 4 minutes to check 1 Cor 6:9 up in Specialläsesalen; the Particular Reading Room, one floor up by a spiral stair. It was in mint condition – didn’t seem to have been used, even. No scribbles! (which I had actually hoped for, a little ;=)

The cover was indeed red, with the words THE HOLY BIBLE in gold. It’s funny, that editors – proud of their work that they must be – are so unwilling (or coy) when it comes to stating that a particular translation (in this case the RSV) with an Agenda, is precisely that…

In the 1952 1 Cor 6:9 reads exactly as expected, but with a footnote: “Two Greek words are translated by this expression”. Rather strange, actually. More honest than Bible editions usually are, but too imprecise to actually say what is happening:

Two Greek words are NOT translated by this expression!!!

On the contrary! Three Greek words are falsely (and intentionally) rendered as one different word, one Modern Concept. One that didn’t exist before 1869 (when the newly minted Homosexual was a medical diagnosis for an exaggerated sexual lust for persons of the same gender) and has changed its meaning first in 1890 (when, in the English translation of Dr von Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis it was made into symmetric twin Concepts: homo- and hetero-), and was later to change its meaning once more in late modern Times (Pater Zerwick 1966 “Sexual Orientation” as identity ;=)

In fact, it is the 1972 which is changed, made to conform to the spirit of the anti gay 1966 English language Jerusalem Bible saying "sexual perverts” for malakoì oúte arsenokoîtai – as do the versions found on the Internet (the Jerusalem Bible actually says (catamites and sodomites, following Pater Zerwick's symmetrical Concept of "passive" gay man vs. "active" gay man ;=)

This differs, however, from the French original which is not overtly "homo"-sexualised in this place, only saying – vaguely – “ni depravés, ni gens de moeurs infames.”

It would, of course, have been thrilling, in its way, if the change from malakoì oúte arsenokoîtai to the ghastly “Homosexuals” could have been nailed down more exactly than to around 1950... but it doesn’t really matter.

What is important is the change, the forgery, not the dating.

Remains that the change is Socio-Political, anti Modern. And that this change probably has a lot more to do with the refused drafting of applicants to the USA Navy during WW2 – which made San Francisco into what it is today - than with the Holy Scriptures of the Bible, where no such thing as a Political ban on GLBTI is ever imagined, be it in the late modern form of “don’t ask, don’t tell”, or the actual Modern Blue Discharge from the US Navy.

Dag Hammarskjöld and the RSV 3.

So, this Thursday I went to the Royal Library in Humlegården (the former Royal Hop Garden) to ask for Dag Hammarskjöld’s
own copy of the RSV. Apparently he bought it in New York 1953, shortly after becoming Secretary General.

It was a new venture by the New York Bible Association, following novel translation principles, a thorough breach with the ancient principle of Correspondence word for word.

It must have been the talk of the town, at least in "churchy" circles.

However, many (Evangelicals, who else?) refused to acknowledge it because of its Red cover – that didn’t go down well in the era of

It was really funny to present my query to the (really very nice and helpful) librarians, who were, first of all, marvelling at the sheer numbers of Bibles in the various catalogues on paper and in the computer – not to mention in Dag Hammarskjöld’s own library… (remember that Sweden only has had one translation at a time, no questions asked), and that I needed precisely this very copy and no other.

I explained that it was translated in 1952 and much reworked twenty years later, accommodating Roman Dogmatics (including the Tu es Petrus… and all that). It even has an Imprimatur ;=)

And the only copies I have found besides this one, are 1972 ones.

Now, as I knew that important changes, with the intent of suppor-ting anti modern Sexual and Social Politics globally (but especially in America), had been made in 1966 by Roman Academics at Cambridge (the English language version of the 1961 Bible de Jérusalem, a long Bible including the OT Deutero-canonicals) and Rome (its accompanying, so called Analysis philologica Novi Testamenti graeci, by Pater Zerwick, S.J. – which is not in any way an “analysis”, but presents Rome’s Dogmatic interpretations), I had begun to wonder, if the oft repeated “homosexuality” in 1 Cor 6:9, were put first in the 1966 Jerusalem Bible, and then inserted in the 1972 RSV.

In the intervening years I had also found that Calvinists and Romans sometimes have radically different and incompatible interpretations (for pastoral reasons?) even when they agree based on a shared Gnosticism/Neo Platonism. Like the word koítän; the Bed, which Rome claims is a Verb (euphemistic) and the (nowadays) United Bible Societies (the Stuttgart Novum) still claim is a Noun – which it is.

So I wanted to see with my own eyes what the 1952 Calvinist RSV (a short Bible, excluding the OT Deutero-canonicals) put there.

In short, is “homosexuals” a Modern or late modern addition?

The search went on for quite a while, before the librarians mastered the electronics. Dag Hammarskjöld’s library (which to my mind should be a real Gem in the Crown of the Royal Library!), isn’t really searchable. They did find a siglum at last – but it has to be found by foot. Deep down in the underground vaults.

I felt a bit like Harry Potter in Gringott’s bank.

Dag Hammarskjöld and the RSV 2.

This lasted a couple of days, while I tried to systematize the many Words into better Concepts.

I found that the 1917 Concepts did not correspond at all to the Greek, but were (as I later found out) grafts from the 1862 changes in the Criminal law – Sweden’s equivalent to the English “Black-mailer’s Charter”, the infamous changes in the mid 19th century (still alive and kicking in former Colonies, such as Nigeria) that sent Oscar Wilde to Reading Gaol for "dining with Panthers", prostitute working-class lads.

And the 1862 Criminal law itself was grafted on a comment “Crimes against Nature” in the Appendix to the 1702 State Bible. Moreover, Charles XIth’s Bible commission had tried to introduce the changes made to the Texts themselves by Charles IXth’s Bible commission in 1603, but failed – the Church of Sweden vigorously defended its early 16th century translation by Drs Martin Luther and Olavus Petri!

Even some of the King’s most faithful academics (into Absolutism and their careers ;=) realised it couldn’t pass – and withdraw the proposal. Simultaneously, the entire edition of the new (Calvinist) Catechism was used for making cartouches, or simply thrown in the stream below Stockholm Castle...

The 1702 Appendix (thicker than the 5 Books of Moses) was the enduring result...

But which were the Concepts?

The 1917 State gives 10 Concepts (as did its forerunner, the 1888 State Normal Edition for the School):

Neither un-chaste, idolaters; “marriage breakers”, “those that let themselves be used for sin against nature”, those that themselves do such sin”; thieves, greedy; drinkers, revilers, graspers...

Sex, Cult, Sex, Sex, Sex, Theft, Greed, Drinking, Slander, Greed…

In fact, the influence of the 1862 Criminal law makes the 1888/ 1917 the first Modern – that is the first “homo”-sexualised – translation of 1 Cor 6:9-11! Much before any other (French privateer Louis Segond 1911 comes second - to be followed in late modernity by many others).

The 1981 gives 9 Concepts as: “no one who lives” in un-chastity, idolatry; fornication, malakoì, arsenokoîtai, homosexuality; theft, selfishness; drinks, is rude, or exploits...

Sex, Cult, Sex, Sex, Theft, Greed, Drinking, Slander, Greed…

Three (3) pre modern Words are replaced by a (1) late modern Concept. Ho, ho…

Whereas the Greek has the following 10 Concepts: pornoì, eídololátrai; moixoì, malakoì, arsenokoîtai; kléptai, pleonéktai, methusoi, loídoroi, árpages…

Cult, Cult, Disloyalty, Disloyalty, Disloyalty, Theft, Greed, Drinking, Slander, Greed…

Paul is after all a Rabbi, thus systematic – though not at all as systematic as the Matthew evangelists (around 140 AD), or Polycarp’s Hellenistic boys at Smyrna in alias 1 Tim 1:10 (probably written after Polycarp’s death in AD 155/6), who have 6 Commandments to Paul’s 4 ;=)

The first two are the 2nd Commandment; Cult,
the following three are the 7th Commandment; Disloyalty,
the next the 8th Commandment,
which make up the Big Commandments, the ones mentioned approvingly in the NT.
The remaining ones are all 10th Commandment – if one does not see the 3 last as "extras” expressing yet more Disloyalty to the Body of Christ; the House-Congregation…

The last 3 may indeed be “extras” (perhaps not even by Paul himself) because not being separated, as are the others - which are indisputably grounded in 4 of the 10 Commandments - by an oúte; neither, but simply by an ou, not.

And the Structure? Well I have given the answer already, haven’t I? The 10 Commandments!

These are much overlooked today, but central, ever present in the Holy Scriptures, which basically are a commentary on the 10 Commandments.

The rest is commentary, as someone said of the Bible (Rabbi Hillel?).

As much – if not all – of the Bible (The Sermon on the Mount, the Sermon in the Plain, the Beatitudes, and so on), 1 Cor 6:9-11 is in the order of the 10 Commandments – which ought greatly hem the creativity of anti Modern “translators” with an Agenda...

For the meanings of the 10 Concepts cannot, reasonably, be sought outside of the 10 Commandments (or, rather, the few that appear in the New Testament) but – alas – this doesn’t seem very often to be the case...

As always I underline important words by marking them important,
I underline changed words, words different from the original by underlining them,
and mark words not corresponding to any word at all in the Text, that is words added by the "translators".

Dag Hammarskjöld and the RSV 1.

I began looking into translations of the Bible comparing them in May of the year 2000, before Seminary, when I still lived in Malmö. In February that year, during school winter holidays (a tradition since the harsh winters of WW2), there had been a bit of a local scandal. Some Free churches together with an American “Impact Tour” called New Generation International, had arranged a kind of Soul-fishing with Rock music cum Body Building at the Baltic Hall (itself a survivor of the Baltic Exposition 1914).

I’m so sorry I wasn’t there – it must have been awful!

“Bloody Beef”, posing to Rock music, exclaiming at intervals: I am so gloriously saved!

During the event an American Pastor-let, 20 years of age, had put forward the idea that “homosexuality is a sin which deserves death”…

He hadn’t made this up by himself though; it’s in the NIV…

The scandal was immediate. The hapless youngsters in the audience, who had been snared by the soul-fishing event unawares, went home to tell their parents. The parents called the newspapers (there were still two of them in Malmö), which produced whole pages about it, and there were Letters to the Editors for the rest of the Semester.

In May or early June there was, yet again, a Letter to the Editor, this once more theologically savvy than the majority. Written by a Pentecostal Pastor in northern Skåne, it tried to defend the pastor-let. The author referred to 1 Cor 6:9-11 as the relevant passage.

So I grabbed my Swedish State Bible 1981/2 (new NT 1981, plus, mostly linguistic changes to the OT). The one with big letters, which I had bought due to my failing eye-sight when I arrived at Lund...

I tried to find the method in 1 Cor 6:9-11, to catch the structure behind the words, for I knew from the Exegetical lectures that there would be one – as, for instance, in Matthew – the school of Matthew, late Bishop Stendahl calls it – symmetrically built around a peak in the centre (the Mount Sion Principle, our old Professor called it, contrasting it to the end-climax of Modern detective stories ;=)

The Professor was so ancient he had known the first family in the then British Palestine Mandate, who spoke Hebrew on a daily basis - as a 2nd language, of course.

Since then Hebrew has changed a lot - even using Tempi, an Indo-European construct which does't exist in Hebrew. So in Modern Hebrew Imperfect is used to allude Western Imperfect and Hebrew Perfect (God only) to allude Western Perfect. The little extra vowel signs, well known from Bible Hebrew, are not in use any longer.

He also told us, that on his latest trip just before the course started Israelis in shops had tried to speak English with him, poor foreigner as he was, whereas 50 years ago on his first stay, people simply didn’t notice… Everyone “broke” ;=)

But in early summer 2000, it was total bewilderment. I didn’t understand a thing. I found neither method nor structure…

This lasted for several weeks, until I got hold of my old Confirmation Bible, a 1967 copy of the 1917 State Bible printed in the Netherlands. Then (after a while) I saw it!

The translations – the much vaunted State translations (the former Bible Commission had been appointed on the 18th May 1773 by Gustaf III, only ending in the early 1920ies with the publishing of the OT Deutero-Canonicals, the last one had been in the working for 15 years by several committees; exegetical; linguistic; literary and so on (but in reality put together by 2 converts to Rome, one "official" one non-official – who converted officially after the fact, ejecting high shrieks of the "Apostasy" of the Swedish Church...) the whole costing some 40 or 70 million Swedish - I never remember which - were different from one another!

There had even been some Rabbis on one of the committées (won't tell you what they thought ;=)

The number of Concepts in 1981 and 1917 – and their translations – simply didn’t correspond.

Not only did the 1917 and 1981 have many more words than the Greek (after all, translations tend to have that, a quota of 115 % seems acceptable, then it becomes an other Gospel ;=) but – counting the Concepts instead of the words, it didn’t add up!

The Greek 1 Cor 6:9-11 has 26 Words to 10 Concepts;
1917 (admittedly pseudo archaic and verbose) has 43 Words to 10 Concepts;
NT 1981 has 35 Words but only 9 Concepts. One Concept was missing, and so were three (3) of the Greek words, following the RSV... (this actually happens a lot with Dynamic Equivalence ;=)

Before I had been just bewildered, now I was dizzy!